DENIM / Us Helping Us

Washington, DC

Target Population

HIV-positive Black gay/bisexual men, ages 18-29


  • DENIM Community Center
  • Participants’ homes
  • Bars & clubs
  • Retreats
  • House Ball events
  • Founded



    HIV Care Continuum

    • Screening/Diagnosis
    • Linkage to care
    • Retention in care
    • Antiretroviral therapy
    • Viral suppression

    Social Media


    • AIDS Health Care Foundation
    • DC Department of Health
    • Prince George’s County Health Department
    • Pharmaceutical companies (e.g., Janssen, Gilead, Merck)
    • Unity Health Care, Inc.
    • Whitman-Walker Health


Developing and Empowering New Images of Men (DENIM) is an adaptation of CDC’s Mpowerment intervention, a community-building program designed to reduce transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Mpowerment is based on a peer-driven educational model that engages individuals outside of the traditional clinical or case-manager model of care.

The DENIM project takes place at Us Helping Us, a Washington, DC-based community health organization founded in 1985 that offers support and social services for Black gay/bisexual men. In 2011, DENIM was launched to engage and empower young gay/bisexual men of color through provocative group discussions designed to reduce HIV risk. Services include youth engagement programs, HIV/STI screening and linkage to care, social-support services, and interventions for HIV-positive young gay/bisexual men. 


DENIM is run by a “core group” of 10 individuals recruited from local patient communities of gay/bisexual Black men. This group designs and implements many of the peer-led DENIM activities including:

  • Common Bonds, a biweekly, peer-led support group for HIV-positive gay/bisexual men, ages 18-29
  • Get Fit, a monthly fitness and healthy living program
  • IlluMENations/Pillow Talk, a peer-led group discussion on sexual activities and negotiating risk reduction
  • MPower You, a monthly job-readiness program that supports resume writing, interview skills, and job search tips
  • Skate Night, a large-scale monthly event for young gay/bisexual men of color
  • Vogue Night, a monthly event that engages members of the ballroom community for a night of creativity and self-expression through dance

HIV-prevention information and HIV/STI screenings are provided at all social events.

A group of seven wearing apparel with the DENIM logo

"There is a certain closeness with other Black gay men, communication skills, and safe space you get at DENIM that you won’t find anywhere else in the area."

Program Participant, DENIM

Us Helping Us infographic